Wolverines Kick Off 2009 Season with Michigan Open

Sept. 4, 2009

Photo Gallery 

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Golf Course)
Meet: Michigan Open (6,000 Meters)
U-M Finish: Non-scoring
Top U-M Individual: Sean McNamara, 2nd (19:16)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Sept. 11 -- at Harry Groves Spiked Shoes Invitational (State College, Pa.), 5:30 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's cross country team made its 2009 debut at the Michigan Open on Friday evening (Sept. 4) at the U-M Golf Course. The race featured all but one member of the current Wolverine squad, while U-M's top five -- including one who competed unattached -- finished within a narrow 10-second window to highlight the 6,000-meter, non-scoring event.

Five Wolverine competitors donned the Michigan uniform for the early-season meet with fifth-year senior Sean McNamara (Elmhurst, Ill./York HS) and senior/junior Peter Christmas (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) taking top billing in the second and third positions, respectively, crossing the finish line together at 19:16.

Fifth-year senior Lex Williams (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS), who ran unattached and only owns outdoor track eligibility, won the event with a time of 18:55.3, finishing 21 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Williams set the pace for much of the race, leading the first pack through the first two miles before establishing a 20-meter gap at the 5,000-meter mark. The chase pack of five responded to the move and crossed the finish line in a clump. Christmas gained ground in the final 10 meters, but McNamara leaned to hang on to second place.

Fifth-year senior Brandon Fellows (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island HS), freshman Zach Ornelas (Cedar Park, Texas/Vista Ridge HS) and sophomore Bobby Aprill (Dexter, Mich./Dexter HS) rounded out the top six. Ornelas, who ran unattached, was Michigan's top freshman finisher in fifth place with a time of 19:18.

The Wolverines will return to action in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoes Invitational next Friday (Sept. 11) in State College, Pa. The 8,000-meter race is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Blue-White Golf Course, site of the 2009 Big Ten Championships.

Complete Results

 1. Lex Williams, unatt.               18:55.3
 2. Sean McNamara, U-M                 19:16
 3. Peter Christmas, U-M               19:16
 4. Brandon Fellows, U-M               19:17
 5. Zach Ornelas, unatt. (U-M)         19:18
 6. Bobby Aprill, U-M                  19:26
 7. Brendan Blacklaws, unatt. (U-M)    19:41
 8. Dan Tyler, unatt. (U-M)            19:49
 9. Geoff Burns, U-M                   19:52
10. Derek Hennings, unatt.             20:02
11. Dallas Bowden, unatt. (U-M)        20:50
12. Even Dancer, unatt.                20:52
13. David Wallington, unatt.           20:55
14. Jesse Anderson, unatt.             21:07
15. Will Kane, unatt.                  21:19
16. Lukas Varney, unatt.               21:43


Michigan Head Coach Ron Warhurst
On Wolverines' team effort... "We had a great camp. The kids ran 90 miles a week, so they're tired. But we had to put a uniform on them today. It's really just to get them started. I was really impressed with their going out in 5:24 first mile and then running 5:00, especially up the long hill. I was hoping they'd take it out quick, stay consistent and then let it go with 1,000 to go. But Lex [Williams] pushed it. The good thing is they went with it. I was pleased with the freshmen. They ran together. It was a great start, and I'm happy with what I saw. Everybody is fit. Nobody is overtraining. They looked very comfortable."

U-M Fifth-year Senior Sean McNamara
On the season-opening meet... "We're basically just looking for a hard effort. I think it's a good rust buster to get us back into competition. We've just kind of been jogging all summer. It wasn't supposed to be that fast, but I guess you get a bunch of guys out there and they get competitive. So, it ended up being a little quicker."

On the race... "I just wanted to hang with the guys through 5K, and then I think everyone was just going to run hard at the end. That's what I was trying to do. I was dying a little bit, but I managed to get Peter Christmas at the line. We kind of broke up a little bit, but I think we had five guys at 5K, which is decent -- good for the first effort."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423